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The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush & the New American Dream

Image of The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream
Author: H. W. Brands
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd (2006)
Binding: Paperback, 448 pages

A little holiday reading for history buffs and Gold investors...

THE TITLE MIGHT suggest a worthy treatise on the Gold Standard, but not at all. This is a history of the California Gold Rush – triggered by the discovery of gold in the water-race at Sutter's Mill on the Sacramento River in 1848.

   The history is written in the style of an epic film, where groups of pioneers – sometimes whole families and all from very different backgrounds – hear of the astonishing quantities of Gold being picked out of riverbeds in California, and set out west to make their fortunes.

   In every case the journey was hard. Various passages west, overland, by sea via Cape Horn, and via the jungles of Panama, are reconstructed from genuine archive material and evince the daring of the tens of thousands of people who made the trip. Through one of these accounts the infamous "Death Valley" got its name.

   The fortunes and failures are intertwined chronologically, from the first breaking news of the money to be made, to the departures, the journey west, the encounters with native tribes, pirates and profiteers, to the frequently disappointing arrival and – a widespread complaint – the absurd costs of mining equipment once the digging was due to start.

   The writing is in an easy style and is liberally mixed with genuine contemporary diary entries which rather than slowing things down simply take you back to the surprisingly recent past where these incredibly tough and resourceful people set out on a real adventure to face very real risks.

   Interested in Gold? Then take this book on holiday perhaps, and give yourself a break from monetary and economic policy.


Adrian Ash runs the research desk at BullionVault, the physical gold and silver market for private investors online. Formerly head of editorial at London's top publisher of private-investment advice, he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and is now a regular contributor to many leading analysis sites including Forbes and a regular guest on BBC national and international radio and television news. Adrian's views on the gold market have been sought by the Financial Times and Economist magazine in London; CNBC, Bloomberg and in New York; Germany's Der Stern and FT Deutschland; Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore, and many other respected finance publications.

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